What Is the Havening Technique and Does It Treat Trauma and Fear?
January 30, 2019


For those who don’t know, I have a YouTube channel. It focuses primarily on talks I’ve given or on videos that my students produce as assignments in my various courses. I’m very proud of the hard work my students have done, particularly in trying to get more evidence-based psychology onto YouTube in the form of …

9 Circles of Atheist Hell
January 29, 2019


Circle #5

A perpetually non-air-conditioned Catholic church in August in Chicago. You are sentenced to an eternal wedding mass which includes taking communion, doing all the Stations of the Cross, and an interminable homily about the sanctity of marriage from a man who’s never been married and never will. You had to go to confession beforehand, during which the priest recognized your voice and knew you were bullshitting him with venial sins to try to get the confession over with quickly.

The groom’s bachelor party was the night before where you were timed to see how fast you could drink juice glasses full of warm Southern Comfort. In church you notice grass stains on your suit, and 4 of your fingers are swollen. You don’t know whether to puke or pass out.

Circle #6

The L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibit on Hollywood Blvd. Because you gave the church all your money and can no longer afford housing, you are sentenced to an eternity of talking tourists from Des Moines into forsaking the religion they grew up with by trying to convince them that aliens landed on earth 75 million years ago on modified DC 8 airplanes.

When Tom Cruise arrives (yes, he’s there too) to inspire the workers, you are punished for laughing at his height. They hook you up to an e-meter with a short in the circuitry and shock you until you salute an animatronic L. Ron Hubbard in his navy costume for stints of 10,000 years.

Flat-Out Consternated
January 29, 2019


Alex Moshakis at The Guardian profiles the UK’s skeptical movement from the QED conference, and naturally brings up the American skeptics, which is, naturally, us: The American skeptical movement, which emerged in the 1970s and later spawned a UK counterpart, involves several large organisations, including the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, which promotes “the use of …

Obergefell Looks Safe in Kavanaugh Era, But LGBTQ Rights Outlook is Bleak
January 28, 2019


With the election of Trump, and the following changes to the Supreme Court, one of the most common questions I was asked by people outside of the secular movement was what this would mean for marriage equality. After all, the decision in Obergefell came down less than 4 years ago, and was a 5-4 ruling, …

Screw the Epoch
January 28, 2019


YouTube says it will act to curtail the algorithmic recommendation of conspiracy theory videos. Via NYT: YouTube provided only three examples of the types of videos that it would stop recommending: those promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, ones claiming the earth is flat or content making blatantly false claims about historic …

Fear of an Unproven Hell
January 25, 2019


Behold, the first Underdownian Point of Inquiry episode, interviewing the personal hero of just about everyone at CFI, TIES director Bertha Vazquez! Hey, you know the new Congress is in session (sort of, shutdown and all). Why not let them know you exist, “you” being part of the secular constituency. James McGough at the LA …

Dropping Deuces with Divine Healing Powers
January 24, 2019


The Supreme Court declined to hear the case of a high school football coach who really, really, really insisted that there be public praying on the football field. That’s good, but then Justice Alito wrote this spooky statement that Ian Millhiser says indicates that the conservative justices are “eager to immunize Christian conservatives from much …

The Tragedy of Jazmine Barnes: Phantom Serial Killers and Eyewitness Errors
January 23, 2019


On December 30, 2018, a seven-year-old Houston girl named Jazmine Barnes was killed when a gunman drove up next to the vehicle she was in and opened fire on its occupants. Her mother, LaPorsha Washington, was wounded; Jazmine was struck in the head and died on the way to the hospital. As the New Year’s …

Are You Drinking Enough Water? Debunking The 8 x 8 Water Myth
January 23, 2019


Claims such as “everyone needs to drink at least eight glasses of water per day,” “society is chronically dehydrated,” and “you aren’t drinking enough water” are promoted by the media, personal trainers, and healthcare personnel. “We lug around huge water bottles and do our best to force down the recommended eight glasses per day, often …

A Substance We Have Never Seen
January 22, 2019


India says it wants to curb fake news and misinformation online, but to do that, its IT Act may be amended so that major platforms will be required to take down any content the government doesn’t like. And that will affect more than just people in India. Egyptian TV personality Mohammed al-Gheiti is sentenced to a …